Fort Wayne homicide detective Ben MacDonald is used to wrestling criminals down to the ground and cuffing them. You’ll see his name on quite a few probable cause affidavits.
“Chasing the worst people on earth and trying to be creative in investigation is what I love,” he once told this reporter during an interview with him and his twin brother, Luke MacDonald, also a homicide detective.
Now the 2002 South Side High School graduate, a busy father of four, is eagerly taking on another kind of challenge. He’s running for the third district seat on the Northwest Allen County Schools board.
Before last year when he started attending school board meetings regularly, MacDonald said he really didn’t have a clue who served on the five-person school board. His oldest child attends Carroll Middle School; the other three are students at Arcola Elementary.
“We just trusted that the kids went to school and that the right thing was being done,” MacDonald said. But as the meetings turned political and sometimes near chaotic over the mask mandate, he believed the board went beyond teaching children academics.
Skills he developed over the last 15 years as an officer with the Fort Wayne Police Department will transfer well as a member of the school board, MacDonald said.
“A good school board member stays informed. What I do is get a lot of information by communicating with people. Communication is key and listening to people and parents and using that to make the best decisions for kids.”
Also decision making. “I’ve had to make a lot of difficult decisions out on the street. We’re tasked with making very quick decisions with limited information. That information has to be made to keep people safe.”
As an officer, he’s given a lot of thought to school security.
“I bring a lot of experience working inside as a school resource officer at South Wayne Elementary several years ago. In addition, my law enforcement training would bring a much needed dialogue with the school board to make our children as safe as possible.”
There’s been a shift in the last three to five years in school focus, MacDonald said. Social issues should stay within the family. School is where people should learn reading writing, mathematics “stuff that is going to prepare them to make the next step in their life, whether that’s college, a trade, owning their own business, being an entrepreneur, whatever that entails. We want to prepare them for that,” he said.
MacDonald is serious about this run and has formed a campaign team that includes family and friends. He’s been out knocking on doors and attended his first meet and greet, he said.
As a candidate for the 3rd district, MacDonald will run against incumbent, Kristi Schlatter.
“You know, I never thought I’d run for any type of office, so I’m out there campaigning, generating some money for signs and doorknockers and then looking forward to setting up some meet and greets the NACS community is wanting.”